Once again the RWC 2011 competition has done nothing for the second and third tier countries.
The quarter finalists are always going to be teams from the top 10 - witness NZ, Ireland, England, South Africa, Oz, Wales, Argentina and France have qualified (exactly the same teams did so in 2007 except Wales went home early and Scotland didn't). In 2003, the QFs were NZ, England, South Africa, Oz, France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
So the tournament needs re-ordering. The RFU in its bid for RWC 2011 suggested major and minor country tournaments. It dropped them for its successful bid for RWC 2015. Already both the NZRU and the Australian RU have said that the costs to them of a rugby world cup is a price too high as they have to give up more lucrative sponsors and matches.
Here's a suggestion:
** The pool matches should not include the quarter finalists from RWC 2011
** This would give an opportunity to include more tier 2 and 3 countries
** 4 x 5 teams so 20 in all, making RWC 2015 open to 28 teams as opposed to 20 at the moment
** top 2 countries qualify for the last 16 knock out phase when the QFs from RWC 2011 join the competition
There have been four surprises in the pool matches - Ireland's win against Australia, Samoa's defeat of
France, Canada's defeat of Samoa and Japan's draw with Canada - but otherwise though Russia made her debut none of the second or third tier countries made real progress. And the truth is they won't whilst it is possible for so many players to play for non-birth countries. This aspect of the game has become farcical. Make the residence qualification ten years and that would put an end to the merry go round.
Whatever, the tournament isn't working.